Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 35

Just into MN → Isle, MN
Net Elevation gain: 289 ft.
Average Speed: 10.0 mph
Top Speed: 37.3 mph
Time spent biking: 5 hours 40 minutes
Total time for the day's travels: 10 hours 35 minutes
Miles biked today: 56.9
Total for trip: 1669.3 miles

Waking up this morning was not as fun as usual. We were stiff and not feeling so great, but we got ourselves up and out of the tent, and by the time we did that we felt a bit better. Still, after yesterday's push to get to Minnesota (yay!), we didn't have high expectations for ourselves today. We figured we would just take it easy and see how many miles we end up doing.

Jenny made a breakfast of granola, rice milk, and cherries while Brett fixed the points on the Google map for the trip. After breakfast, we switched and Jenny uploaded lots of pictures and worked on writing while Brett packed up some and went to go pay in the office of the campground. Brett came back from the office with word of another nice campground in Isle, about 50 miles away, but right on the route we were planning to take. Once again we traded off the computer and Brett wrote more while Jenny took down and packed the tent. We think we make a great team.

On our way at last, we got to cruise down the big hill we climbed to get to the campground the previous evening, and then climb a slightly bigger hill once we got back on the highway. Halfway up the hill, though, we took a break by the “Welcome to Minnesota” sign. We took some fun pictures, and then proceeded on our way, munching the last of the good beef jerky from Fifield, WI.

Jenny peeks out from behind the sign.

Yay! We made it to Minnesota! We can't wait to see Selena!

Although some of them were different, the wildflowers continued to be beautiful along the sides of the road, just like in Wisconsin. It really brightens our outlook on things to have pretty flowers to look at along the way. We never get tired of them, even the same ones over and over.

Pretty thistle flowers dot the sides of the roads.

For a few days we've been meaning to capture an image of this orange flower that grows along the road. It looks familiar, but strange at the same time. Anyone know what it is?

We had been warned about some hills, but it was really just that first big hill and the rest of the terrain was small rolling hills. We rolled into Cloverdale, which is really just Tank's Tavern, and stopped for a meal. We were amazed at the quality of the food. We had by far the best bacon cheeseburgers of the trip! So good!

When we left, the sun finally convinced us to put sunscreen on, and we did that in a little park across the street from Tank's Tavern. Then, although we weren't feeling like riding much, we continued west. There were some more rolling hills, and then after much groaning, we finally made it to Hinkley.

There is a casino in Hinkley, and a big highway going north/south, so there were lots of fast food restaurants and motels and such. We really wanted to find some shade and an Internet signal, but finding one that was strong enough was difficult. We finally found one that worked well behind a burger joint. They had a few trees and picnic tables in a grassy area, so we set up for a while there. We worked together on the blog, and then Jenny did even more while Brett called his mom and had a really nice conversation.

The town of Hinkley burned down at some point, and this statue marks that historic event.

Jenny works on the blog. Brett broke down and bought a shake/malt from the fast food place. It was pretty good, but not like the real ones.

Getting up and going can be hard after a nice break, but riding is almost always good for us. After crossing over the big highway, we found a cute little downtown to Hinkley. We also found the grocery store, and we decided we had better get some more food for meals later. Our shopping basket ended up holding salami, cheese, a can of olives, a can of black beans, a jar of peanut butter, a small jar of pasta sauce, a small juice for immediate consumption, and a big container of juice for later (delicious mango/peach/apple).

Leaving Hinkley behind, we started moving along faster than before. By this time it was evening, though not nearly dusky yet, and we enjoyed the faster pace, raising our average speed to 10 after hanging around 9 or 9.5 most of the earlier part of the day. We were following County Road 18 and then County Road 3. Then we turned north.

After a while, Brett's knees were getting really tired. In fact WE were really tired, and so we stopped for much-needed snacks by the side of the road. We put down our tarp, and ate enough to feel better. Sometimes it's hard to tell when you just need some good food and when you should push a little further on. We were surprised at how hungry we were, so we were really glad we stopped. Things were a little better after that.

Another pretty flower along the roadsides that we love to see. The wildflowers really are one of our favorite parts of this whole trip.

A nice shot of the lily, with Brett in the background.

We turned west again on Route 27, and now it was dusky. We turned our flashing rear light on, and continued on. It got dark while we were still on Route 27, and we decided that although we had hoped to make it to the public campground at the state park a little further west, we should just stop at the first campground we got to, even if it was more expensive.

Biking in the evening gives you some amazing views that you wouldn't see in the day. This mist was really fun to bike through.

South Isle Family Campground was the first one we saw, and it was also the one we had been told about at the previous campground. We pulled in about 10:00, and some dogs started to bark at us without stopping. We felt badly, and tried to look for the late registration directions. They just said to go up to the house. We didn't want to disturb anyone, but before we could even get to the house, someone came out and welcomed us.

The proprietor, Wally, was super nice. He was really supportive of our trip, but also generous. He didn't charge us full price and gave us half a bag of ice for free. Thanks so much, Wally! We set up camp in the first site we came to, then Brett iced his knees for a bit. We took a shower and brushed our teeth before we checked the blog for comments. We found a few and that made us really happy. We went to bed tired but satisfied.


  1. I love the wildflower pictures. I sometimes try to memorize a list of all the different ones I see on a ride. The one you asked about is an asclepius, or butterfly weed. Have you noticed butterflies attracted to it?
    Love and hugs,

  2. I must be on a roll. First again! Glad to see Brett is icing the knees. Best thing he can do. Don't forget the Ibuprofen if you need it. A couple of pieces of medical advice (not sure if you're aware but I am an MD). You are doing a good job listening to your bodies with respect to food, drinking, and rest. You need to refuel regularly. Your glycogen stores, on which you rely for energy are pretty exhausted in about 45 minutes of steady, vigorous exercise. From that point you burn fat and protein. Fat is good because you get twice the amount of energy per gram of fat, that you get from carbs and proteins. The more you exercise, the more efficiently you burn fat so you two are probably getting pretty good at this. As to drinking, the best way is to trust your thirst, but also (not to be indelicate) check your urine. It should be more clear than yellow. Too dark means you are dehydrated and your kidneys are conserving water. Anyway, you guys are doing great. I'll be checking the map as you travel through Minnesota. It is a beautiful state. Don't forget to try to find some fresh Walleye. You won't regret it. Great blog today. Ride on.......

  3. Since you mention liking comments, I thought I should let you know how much I'm enjoying following your adventures. It's exciting when a new entry goes up.

    My favorite repeating element in the writing is the way that you get through difficulties and bad moods by being kind to yourselves and each other. It's as impressive as the physical effort, I think, to neither push yourself too hard nor take things out on the other person. The tale of a cross-continental bike trip would be compelling enough, but this is also a portrait of a loving marriage.

    I hope all is going well.


  4. Theresa and Robert - New Lebanon hostsJuly 24, 2010 at 11:41 PM

    Looks like you might be heading the way we came when we did our transcontinental. If so, please check our blog at to see our route - or contact us to ask any questions. We definitely do not recommend riding between Baker and Miles City, only because it is 84 miles with no services. It was pleasant to go through Wibaux and Terry on the way to Miles City.

    Can't figure where exactly you are - the posts are two weeks behind the comments date, but the map says that you are staying in somebody's back yard just past McLaughlin.

    Have fun crossing Montana.

  5. It is almost 2am,
    and I am eating ramen noodles
    and reading your blog.

  6. I'm sure you must have encountered some interesting accents from the locals along the entire scope of this trip. Have you had any difficulty understanding anyone? We continue to enjoy reading your blogs, and frankly, wonder how you have the energy/time to do this!

  7. as you noted in the start of your post, you do make a good team and like phoebe said in her comment, your blog is much more than a biking log, it's a "portrait of a loving marriage."

    it's 9:30 on sunday here. waiting for our 1st customer to arrive at 10. papa's in a silly mood after listening to will shortz's puzzler on NPR and trying to figure out funny spoonerisms to send in. i'm in sneezy mode - my allergies are at their worst despite my best efforts to tame the beast. amber successfully hosted her 1st playdate for fellow toddlers and their moms and toby and timmy played tennis yesterday when timmy drove up to UCF to visit (and to bring him a bedframe). we all miss you. i must have checked for a new post 5 times yesterday. so glad to find one this morning!